These are a few pictures taken while wandering around London’s Chinatown area, and the first one is my new favorite snack, TaiYaki. We first ran into this snack while hanging out in Second Life, but had never seen it in RL until we found a little bakery in London’s Chinatown that seemed to be making 70% of its sales from fish waffles. Most times of day they had a line the length of the store queuing up to buy them.

Taiyaki
Taiyaki

They may look like fish, but they taste like lightly sweetened Belgium Waffles (the real ones that you can buy from the street vendors in Brussels) with just a dab of creamy custard in the center.

Chinatown Tori
Chinatown Tori

I think of Tori’s as the gateway into an area, but the one in London’s Chinatown is a good two blocks in.

Monkey King
Monkey King

I never did find out exactly why this representation of the Monkey King was hanging out on this building, but I found it interesting so I am including it here.

For the last week or two I actually partook in a vacation which consisted of a trip to Europe both instigated and accompanied by my very good friend Jenn, and it was amazing. Most of our time was spent in the UK, but there was a day trip to Paris, with a bus stop by the Moulin Rouge, a boat ride by Notre Dame, lunch in the Eiffel Tower, and a visit to the Louvre. I realize that a serious trip to the Louvre takes about a decade to get a good start on, and much longer to complete, and the rest of the city requires a lot more attention than a single day allows for. But within the time allotted for the days visit we got enough of a glimpse of the structure and flavor of Paris to get a good general impression, and I now have a lot of mental and emotional hooks to hang references off of that I might be exposed to through various books, movies, music, or other media. I enjoyed every minute of my time there, and had to share a few pictures.

Notre Dame
Notre Dame

This complex of buildings was awe inspiring to finally see in person, but when you started looking into the detail work (especially through a high powered telescopic lens) you began to understand just how immense the project that created the facility was.

Angle-A
Angle-A

Here is one of the statues on the bridge that was featured as the suicide weapon in Luc Besson’s Angel-A. Note that if either the Angle or the Human had leaped off the bridge they would have fallen an entire 14 feet before hitting the water, so only careful camera angles kept the scene tense.

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower springs to everyone’s mind when they think of Paris, so how could we miss it? We not only looked at it from the ground (from multiple angles; it is visible from quite a ways off, after all), but we got on the lift that took us up to the lower platform and to a wonderful lunch of chicken under foam. When we tried to get back to the ground we discovered that was not quite as easy; it seems that some of the approached to the lifts are only accessible at certain times, and while we were not there long enough to learn the rules we did manage to get down again.

Chicken Under Foam
Chicken Under Foam

The wonderful lunch of chicken under foam I mentioned; trust me when I say it tasted even better than it looks, and it was heart healthy besides!

Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge

As a kid from Louisiana, no way I was leaving without a glimpse of the most famous and art-infused strip club of all time! Moulin Rouge is in a category by itself, and had to be included here!

Thanksgiving is always a fun time, this year more than usually so for me. Despite all the retailers that started playing Christmas songs on Halloween, to me the season doesn’t kick off until the Black Friday sales start going crazy. In honor of that, a few seasonal images I wanted to share; hope you like them. And yes, that last shot is the cartoon me, standing in front of the sketch rendition of the second image.

Covent Garden Lights 2

Rudolph

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

Tomorrow the BBC will be airing its annual Children In Need charity drive, and as part of the presentation they will Preview the Doctor Who Christmas Special. The exclusive clip will see the 12th Doctor and Nardole team up with an investigative reporter (think Lois Lane) and a Masked Vigilante to protect New York from an Alien Invasion. Because, you know, there is always an Alien Invasion of the Earth on Christmas Day, it’s in the rules! This clip forms part of the BBC’s Children in Need’s Appeal Show on Friday November 18th. The charity special starts at 7pm on BBC One, with no guesses what time the clip will air, while the actual Christmas Special (entitled The Return of Doctor Mysterio) airs on December 25th.

This time around Humble Bundle is offering a Doctor Who Comics Bundle currently with about 50 titles in it. If you haven’t hit Humble Bundle before, they have deals on various nerd-approved things, often including ebooks, games, and audio dramas. You get to select what price you will pay, but if you pay above a specified amount you unlock additional titles. Each deal comes with a charity being supported, and you also get to select what percentage of your payment goes to the creator, what goes to the charity, and what goes to the site itself for setting it all up. I generally just leave the percentage at the default since it is usually very equitable, and for the Doctor Who Comics Bundle the charity is Children In Need, a most worthwhile organization. As little as $15 unlocks all 50 issues of the comics and puts money into the Children in Need coffers; or if you are not a Doctor Who fan, look into their other current bundles, odds are good you will find something you like coupled with someone you want to support.